My relationship with Theater Ballhaus Naunynstraße began in 2017 as a guest artist in the Intercultural Processes & Art: The Next Level Workshop. Since then, I participated in the Permanente Beunruhigung Festival (2018) and created the sound/performance pieces, Echoing Europe – Postcolonial Reverberations (2019) and sonus – the sound within us (2019). Read more on the details of my projects at Theater Ballhaus Naunynstraße below.
sonus – the sound within us
Lecture performance by meLê yamomo
What is the sound of memory? How do we listen to memory in its multitude—to histories? The sound of history is ephemeral. And yet it persists.
Electronic music, piano, lecture performance: in sonus ‒ the sound within us the performance artist and sound scholar meLê yamomo invites us as an audience to immerse ourselves in the sentimentality of his childhood hometown and the soundtrack of his youth. He links his story with the history of imperialism, post-colonial nationalism and the migration of musicians rendered subaltern. He directs our ears to listen closely to the permeation of individual memory and translocal histories. He invites us to follow the echo of a globalized history and the accompanying migration of sound and its multiple repositionings.
Drawing on some thoughts in his last book, Sounding Modernities, onstage meLê yamomo reflects about the colonized bodies as an archive of sound memory and histories. To this end, he speaks about his journeys, his encounters with post-migrant artists and academics, about the sound that is archived in colonized bodies. And he presents sound. For it is precisely the ephemerality of sound and the transience of vocal expression, the sounding longing of Filipino immigrants in Europe in music and language, that evokes memory and demonstrates the everyday relevance and political, often resistant force of the body archive.
World Premiere: 25 October 2019
Echoing Europe – Postcolonial Reverberations
A Sound Performance by meLê yamomo
Noise, din, background buzz, sound waves hit the eardrum. Sounds are physical touches. Touches of something unknown. If we knew what it was it might actually be “music”. Who decides what is “sound”? Who would classify it as “music”? Can we stand this touch?
In Echoing Europe, the performer, composer and sound studies scholar meLê yamomo re-arranges European musical appreciation as colonial history. The focus is on the recording techniques in times of colonialism, specifically in the period 1890-1950 in Southeast Asia.
The portable gramophone turned fleeting occurrences into transportable raw materials for the scientific and historical construction of Europe and its “outside”, its understanding of music. In Berlin, in the world’s most extensive archives, sound recordings are stored as trophies of a colonial sound-appropriation. What do we hear in these recordings today? What do they mean for the construction of our image of Europe, the European musical tradition, for the construction of “others”? For years meLê yamomo has been concerned with these historic recordings and sound linkages, with the related demarcations and the violence. There is a separation between “music” and “sound” ‒ with all the violence that comes with borders.
With Echoing Europe, meLê yamomo creates together with the performer Pepe Dayaw a new sound chamber at Ballhaus Naunynstraße: electronic music and historic sound documents, recordings dealing with the Berlin archives and their current policies constitute the elements of his musical narrative. A central issue in this is his own role as performer and scholar, as Person of Color, his mobility and forced paralysis within postcolonial academic and cultural structures. After participating in the international performance festival Permanente Beunruhigung, this was the transnationally operating performer’s first work at Ballhaus Naunynstraße.
Performer: meLê yamomo, Pepe Dayaw
Thursday, May 16, 2019
16-18 May 2019
16-19 December 2019
8-11 April 2020
18-21 November 2020
Produced by Kultursprünge at Ballhaus Naunynstraße gemeinnützige GmbH. First production financed with funds from the Land Berlin, Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
„Wenn wir an Kolonialismus denken, haben wir meist bestimmte Strukturen oder bestimmte Bilder im Kopf. Wir denken aber kaum darüber nach, wie Kolonialismus klingt. Für mich sind diese historischen Aufnahmen Beweise, dass Kolonialismus auch mit solchen Aufnahmen konstruiert wurde.“ (meLê yamomo in Interview with Deutschlandfunk, May 2019)
„Echoing Europe is an intervention to reanimate and engage the affective epistemologies of these retired objects of silenced colonial history.“ (meLê yamomo in Interview with TRAFO Blog for Transregional Research, July 2019)
“Sometimes you only have to listen…” About the sonic entanglements of our colonial past. (meLê yamomo in Interview with Textures, Online Platform for Interweaving Performance Cultures, December 2019)
„Was die Aufnahmetechnik ermöglicht hat, ist die globale Migration von Sound, doch die Körper, von denen sie genommen wurden, spielen keine Rolle. Bis heute: Sie haben keine Visa, sie haben keine Möglichkeit zu reisen. Das ist die globale Vernetzung, in der wir leben.“ (meLê yamomo in Interview with Van Outernational, January 2020)
An encounter, a venture, a festival! We’re celebrating 10 years of post-migrant theatre at Ballhaus Naunynstraße with the internationally cast performance festival Permanente Beunruhigung! 23 artists are coming together at Ballhaus Naunynstraße in 5 different constellations: for a first encounter; for a working process that needs to be negotiated; for two performance shows.
Please, find more Information about the Festival HERE.
With: Quinsy Gario (poet & performance artist), Daniel Lima (artist, curator, editor & researcher), Lobadys Pérez (dancer & choreographer), meLê yamomo (sound and performance artist-scholar);
26-27 November 2017
Presentation of a performative laboratory of post-migrant arts
Post-migrant arts ‒ we ask ourselves: what are the current strategies, narratives and politics that can be identified in this theatre movement? What methods or approaches are new to us, reaching beyond previous terrains, artistic disciplines, aesthetic philosophies and geographical references? And how can we make such a ‘multiple’ knowledge accessible to us and others? How can the field of topics be expanded? And how can forms of self-representation that have been successful in other formats such as film and literature be applied?
We initiate a dialogue between protagonists from neighbouring communities and artistic disciplines, making an attempt at using a form of organized love to bring together long existing communities. Ten days of sharing experiences, ten days of meeting experts from the most diverse sectors of the art world, ten days of exploring, experimenting, conceptualizing, taking creative (de-)tours.
So far, the art and theatre scene has been geared towards certain individuals and productions. We target our mutual wealth of experiences that is able to respond to the pressure of cultural essentialization, attributions and expectations. All this is inspired by working together as well as postulating a post-migrant theatrical legacy which is constantly being developed further: post-migrant arts leading up to the next level. Ten days of sharing experiences ‒ one evening of presentation.